Longmuir, Anderson, and Bucher garner Rural and Public Health Awards

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News Article

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School of Medicine & Health Sciences


Grand Forks, N.D.—Mark Longmuir, MD, Allen Anderson, and Ben Bucher earned awards at the 2017 Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health held June 13–15 in Minot.

Mark Longmuir, MD, of the Mountrail County Medical Center in Stanley, N.Dak., was named Outstanding Rural Health Provider. This award is presented to a healthcare clinician whose practice is in rural North Dakota and who has made an important contribution to their community and area.

Dr. Longmuir received his medical doctorate from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences in 2009. He completed a residency in family medicine at the Center for Family Medicine in Minot, N.Dak., in 2012 and served as chief resident in his third year. He returned to his hometown of Stanley, N.Dak., to serve those closest to his heart. He is a believer in rural health, and he has spent time in schools promoting interest in serving rural residents and advocating with medical students the need for them to serve rural communities.

Rockford Zastoupil, the administrator and CEO of the Mountrail Country Medical Center, said Longmuir’s work ethic is unmatched.

“I believe that Dr. Longmuir is probably one of the most competent and personable physicians that I’ve met in rural America,” Zastoupil said. “He has the youth that we need in this part of the country to take care of those that do not live in urban areas, and he has the wonderful skills that are needed for all of the issues that arise in a small-town rural hospital.”

Allen Anderson, Grand Forks Public Health Department, received the Public Health Worker of the Year Award. The award recognizes a North Dakota Public Health Association member who made a significant contribution in the field of public health in the past year.

Anderson graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics from the University of North Dakota in 2002. Allen has worked in food safety with the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and the North Dakota Department of Health. Anderson started working at Grand Forks Public Health in 2005 in the area of nutrition and physical activity.

Theresa Knox, Nursing and Nutrition supervisor at the Grand Forks Public Health Department, nominated Anderson. She said, “Allen is passionate about collaboration in the community to address health disparities and serves in many leadership roles. His easy going attitude, leadership skills, and willingness to cooperate with others make him an asset to the community that he serves.”

Ben Bucher, Towner County Medical Center, received the Emerging Rural Leader Award. The award recognizes a new professional who has demonstrated tremendous promise for and commitment to improving the health of rural North Dakota residents.

Bucher graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing in 2003. He went on to practice at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks for a number of years before returning to graduate school at UND and completing his Family Nurse Practitioner degree. In 2014, Bucher completed his Master in Business Administration degree with a specialization in healthcare. He also served as a clinical instructor in the FNP Program at the College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines at UND from 2015 to 2017. He joined TCMC in 2015 as the new administrator/CEO and as a family nurse practitioner. In his practice, he specializes in the emergency, clinical, and hospital medicine. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is in the process of becoming a Fellow, the organization’s highest honor.

Bucher was nominated by Darrold Bertsch, CEO, Sakakawea Medical Center and Coal Country Community Health Center. Bertsch said, “Bucher isn’t your normal CEO.” In addition to his work as CEO, Ben also works as a provider in the clinic and participates in the provider ER call rotation for the hospital he leads and directs.

The Dakota Conference is a joint effort by Altru Health System of Grand Forks, the North Dakota Public Health Association, the North Dakota Rural Health Association, the UND College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines, and the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

To watch videos of all this year’s awardees visit ruralhealth.und.edu/dakota-conference/awards-archive.


Kristin Trelstad

Communications Specialist

Center for Rural Health

(701) 777-6958